‘Sendong’ images used to convince Butuan folk in danger zones to evacuate

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/10 February) – Call it scare tactics, but the local government through the city housing office has used the images of the tragedy caused by the floods brought by storm Sendong in convincing residents living in flood-prone areas to evacuate.

On Thursday, February 9, at least 50 tarpaulins with the message “Remember Sendong? This is a danger zone area, let us leave now,” were set to be distributed to the 21 barangays identified as danger zones.

“We already have placed several of the signages in strategic locations and hopefully by next week we will finish putting it all up. We hope that this would aid us in convincing our communities to leave the danger zones and hasten the relocation process,” said Lorden Vismanos, head of the City Housing Development.

Vismanos said the lessons of the recent Sendong tragedy should not be taken for granted and that it should not be repeated in Butuan.

Last January 13, Task Force Likas was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 53.

The order aims for the immediate and complete preemptive evacuation and relocation of settlers along the flood walls of the Agusan River.

The task force will start its work with a massive information drive, in particular forums with the residents of each barangay.

Demolition of houses will start by March and will prioritize those that stand on the waters of the river.

The city housing office has already designated two relocation sites: Barangay Pagatpatan along the western side of the river and Kilometer 3 Baan on the eastern side. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)